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earthquake of nations which History calls
the French Revolution, were, at this time,
already beginning to make themselves heard;
and any public scandal which affected the
wealthier and higher classes involved a
serious social risk, the importance of which
no man in France could then venture to
estimate. If Marie claimed the privilege
which a sense of justice, or rather a sense of
decency, had forced the parliament of Paris
to concede to her,—and, through her counsel,
she did claim it,—the  consequences of the
legal inquiry into her case which her demand
for damages necessarily involved, would
probably be the trying of Madame Duparc,
either for parricide, or for homicide by
misadventure; the dismissal of Procurator Revel
from the functions which he had disgracefully
abused; and the suspension from office
of the authorities at Caen and Rouen, who
had in various ways forfeited public
confidence by aiding and abetting him. Here then
was no less a prospect in view than the
disgrace of a respectable family, and the
dishonouring of the highest legal functionaries
of two important provincial towns! And
for what end was the dangerous exposure to
be made? Merely to do justice to the
daughter of a common day-labourer, who had
been illegally sentenced to torture and burning,
and illegally confined in prison for nearly
five years. To make a wholesale sacrifice of
her superiors, no matter how wicked they
might be, for the sake of giving a mere
servant-girl compensation for the undeserved
obloquy and misery of many years, was too
preposterous and too suicidal an act of justice
to be thought of for a moment. Accordingly,
when Marie was prepared to bring her action
for damages, the lawyers laid their heads
together, in the interests of society. It was
found possible to put her out of court at once
and for ever, by taking a technical objection
to the proceedings in which she was plaintiff,
at the very outset. This disgraceful means
of escape once discovered, the girl's guilty
persecutors instantly took advantage of it.
She was formally put out of court, without
the possibility of any further appeal. Procurator
Revel and the other authorities retained
their distinguished legal positions; and the
question of the guilt or innocence of Madame
Duparc, in the matter of her father's death,
remains a mystery which no man can solve
to this day.

After recording this scandalous termination
of the legal proceedings, it is gratifying
to be able to conclude the story of Marie's
unmerited sufferings with a picture of her
after-life which leaves an agreeable impression
on the mind. If popular sympathy,
after her release from prison, could console
her for the hard measure of injustice under
which she had suffered so long and so
unavailingly, that sympathy was offered to her
heartily and without limit. She became
quite a public character in Paris. The people
followed her in crowds wherever she went.
A subscription was set on foot, which, for the
time at least, secured her a comfortable
independence. Friends rose up in all directions
to show her such attention as might be in
their power; and the simple country girl,
when she was taken to see the sights of Paris,
actually beheld her own name placarded in
the showmen's bills, and her presence advertised
as the greatest attraction that could be
offered to the public. When, in due course
of time, all this excitement had evaporated,
Marie married prosperously, and the government
granted her its licence to open a shop
for the sale of stamped papers. The last we
hear of her is, that she was a happy wife and
mother, and that she performed every duty
of life in such a manner as to justify the deep
interest which had been universally felt for
her by the people of France.

Her story is related here, not only because
it seemed to contain some elements of interest
in itself, but also because the facts of which
it is composed may claim to be of some little
historical importance, as helping to expose
the unendurable corruptions of society in
France before the Revolution. It may not
be amiss for those persons whose historical
point of view obstinately contracts its range
to the Reign of Terror, to look a little farther
backto remember that the hard case of
oppression here related had been, for
something like one hundred years, the case (with
minor changes of circumstance) of the forlorn
many against the powerful few, all over
Franceand then to consider whether there
was not a reason and a necessity, a dreadful
last necessity, for the French Revolution.
That Revolution has expiated, and is still
expiating, its excesses, by political failures
which all the world can see. But the social
good which it indisputably effected remains
to this day. Take, as an example, the
administration of justice in France at the
present time. Whatever its short-comings may
still be, no innocent French woman could be
treated, now, as an innocent French woman
was once treated, at a period so little remote
from our own time as the end of the last

MR. CHARLES DICKENS will read at ABERDEEN on the
4th of October; at PERTH on the 5th; at GLASGOW on
the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th; at BRADFORD on the 14th; at
LIVERPOOL on the 15th; at MANCHESTER on the 16th; at
BIRMINGHAM on the 18th, 19th, and 20th; at NOTTINGHAM
on the 21st; at DERBY on the 22nd; and at
MANCHESTER on the 23rd of October.

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